I hate meals with my toddlers. It’s my least favorite time of day, all three times that it happens. In fact, if I were rich enough to hire someone, I would pay good money for someone to sit at the table with my 2 year olds and deal with the chaos.
Here are a few reasons why I hate mealtime (and subsequently have few pictures of it, because it’s that bad):
The picky eating. I mean, let’s just call it like it is. I never understood how toddlers could be picky eaters until recently. My toddlers ate a wide variety of foods, and the only ones they didn’t eat they just flat out didn’t like. I can reason with that, there’s a lot of foods I don’t like either. But I didn’t realize that picky eating was an epidemic, an illness of sorts.
My daughter is the picky eater right now. Foods she ALWAYS ATE, she won’t touch. Quesadillas, any rice dish, basic sandwiches. Foods I could always count on for a meal. Won’t touch it. Not only that, but if forced to take a bite, she’ll gag like crazy and act like she just ate poison, when in fact she hasn’t even swallowed the bite yet. It has severely put a dent in the list of meals she will eat. And since I have two toddlers, I generally don’t want to make them separate meals. Hence, her brother hasn’t been eating those meals either.
C is going through a “plain” stage. She wants plain bread, plain pasta, plain crackers. Plain veggies and fruits. Won’t try a dip to save her life.
The whining. This one goes to my daughter as well. I try to always set her up for success, giving her at least one thing on her plate that she likes. But she can’t just eat a plate of snap peas for dinner on repeat. “But I don’t LIKE pasta,” she’ll whine, “I want something else.” Or, “This pasta is not perfect, I need something else that I like.”
The fit-throwing. My son doesn’t whine – he throws fits. He gets EXTREMELY UPSET if food on his spoon or fork drops, especially if it falls on the floor. And if a dog gets it before I pick it up and give it back to him (ahem), all hell breaks loose. He gets so frustrated with each bite that doesn’t go perfectly into his mouth, while C just bare-hands whatever it is and shoves it in. He needs some coping strategies on what to do if elbow pasta falls from his spoon! C doesn’t help – “We don’t THROW things, B! That’s not GOOD MANNERS!”
The RIDICULOUS REQUESTS. And I mean ridiculous. Coming from two toddlers at the same time, I get up from the table about 587 times a meal.
C: “My water is cold. I don’t LIKE cold water, I want warm water!” “I want to shut the ketchup bottle!” “I want to see your water!” “My spoon is too cold, Daddy – make it warm!” (Daddy blows on it in his hands) “Noooo not like that Daddy, that’s not perfect!” “I don’t want a little spoon, I want a big spoon! Not THAT spoon, a different spoon!” (She tries something she hates, bursts into tears and acts like her tongue is covered in burning acid). (“Take a drink, honey.”, and B laughs at her.) “CRYING IS NOT FUNNY!” she screams to him. “YES, IT IS FUNNY,” he replies.
B: “Don’t put me in my chair, Mommy!!!” (I say, “Who is putting you in your chair, Daddy or Mommy?”) “Mommy.” (I reach over.) “NOOO don’t put me in my chair!” “Don’t do my buckles.” “Don’t help me with my buckles.” “My bib hurts!” (the back of his neck) “Don’t wash my stickies!” “I don’t LIKE green beans.” (“B, you love green beans.”) “No, this one has a string so I don’t LIKE them.” “Mommy,” (as he gags), “take this string off. I don’t LIKE strings.” “I don’t WANT A NAPKIN!” (Throws it on the floor. Two minutes later…) “I need a napkin!”
And finally, my own irrational fear of choking. It’s real and it’s running wild as the kids get older. WHY does my daughter take such giant bites? I know it’s precisely to toture me. I mean barely able to speak, her mouth is full to the brim. She grabs fistfulls of small things – cut veggies, peas, chick peas, and I have to look away. And of course, as there’s two of them, they’re constantly talking and laughing throughout the meal. Making each other laugh while chewing – my worst nightmare. Between the both of them, someone coughs a bit everyday. And coughing is not choking, I know this. But it doesn’t help my heart from stopping and having a mild panic attack every. single. time. I know I have an issue but I don’t understand how parents DON’T have this same issue (including my husband). Do you all feel so confident that you’ll be able to save your child’s life by doing the heimlich successfully? Isn’t there any fear of failing on this front?
So yeah, I cut up those damn grapes. Into like, eighths. Raw carrots are sliced fine as well. Clementines – each slice into thirds. And lollipops – they don’t even get lollipops, because what if the cheaply made piece of garbage pops off the stick as they’re eating it?? They will choke on it, there’s no doubt in my mind. Maybe you all can talk me off this ledge, but man, I’m getting out of control with this one.
Yes, meals suck in this house. When you come over for a visit and witness a meal, you’re sure to be running for the door when it’s over. After I’ve reheated my plate up for the fourth time, sometimes it’s just easier to wait until the kids have gone to bed to eat it. Meals never used to be this unpleasant, and I’ll take any suggestions you have to turn it around!